The Philippines unique market scenario has a private company Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation PAGCOR in charged of gambling, an online market which has grown rapidly in the past three years.
A look at a key source of revenue for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators POGOS reveals an illicit practice which begins take into serious question the use of the PAGCOR organisation as a governing body for the entire jurisdiction--as they rely while rely primarily on POGOS for increasing revenue.
Finding the Path to China
Online casinos are beneficial to Philippine government revenues, but are also revealing spurious activity facing neighbouring China, where gambling is illegal.
Under pressure from neighbouring China, whom has been pressuring all neighbours against regulating gambling in recent months, local jurisdiction in Manila went has gone so far as to attempt to shut down the industry by refusing further applications for new POGO licences in August 2019.
The next month, the initiative was subsequently scrapped by President Rodrigo Duterte.
In May, Duterte allowed POGOs to reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic, categorizing them in the essential business designation allowing businesses to reopen at the time.
Duterte originally gave PAGCOR its regulatory power to issue offshore gambling licenses while also operating casinos.
This led to generally aggressive development of the industry by PAGCOR and an increase in the amount of licenses extended in order to increase government revenues proportionally.
Private China Interests
The availability of licenses drew many Chinese businessmen into the market, leading to a mushrooming of the number of POGOS to a full 60 licensed offshore gaming operators in the Philippines in three years, according to PAGCOR figures.
However, the POGOS are estimated to serve some 90-95% players located in China where gambling is illegal through the use of service providers who offer video feeds from POGO with different logos and visual identity overlaid by the service providers.
While POGOS like any casinos do create jobs for local citizenry, the job boost appears to be window dressing inducing observers to overlook or look the other way against the unscrupulous behavior of the POGOS, which in reality need to be cleaned up or eliminated in order to bring them into compliance.